How Long Are Coding Bootcamps?
| ComputerScience.org Staff
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Students who want to learn to code in an accelerated span of time might enroll in a coding bootcamp. Intended to prepare students for entry-level coding positions, these programs provide students with a baseline practical understanding of coding without the cost and time commitment of most computer science degrees.
Topic, skill level, and cost all determine the duration of a coding bootcamp. Depending on their program choice, attendees may focus on web development, data science, UX/UI design, or other specialties. Bootcamps typically offer project- and instruction-based learning environments that teach applied skills through hands-on experience.
Topic, skill level, and cost all determine the duration of a coding bootcamp.
Equipped with top-tier skills, coding bootcamp graduates gain access to lucrative, in-demand positions in a growing industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects for software developers a growth of 22% between 2019 and 2029, much quicker than the average increase for all jobs.
Why Program Length Matters
A 2021 report documents a 306% growth rate in online coding bootcamp enrollment with an estimated 79% of graduates finding a job in their field. Coding bootcamp duration varies based on the amount of material learned and the instruction pace, but the standard bootcamp program length is 12 weeks.
Both working professionals making a career transition to computer science and students seeking a deep dive in a specific topic can gain something useful from a bootcamp. Students typically gain a broad knowledge of coding, but individual programs might focus specifically on introductory material or specific coding languages.
Bootcamp program length plays a significant role in a bootcamp’s focus. A one-month bootcamp might give students an introduction to the basic principles and tools of coding, or it might offer an opportunity to dive more deeply into a specific topic to enhance your skill set. A three-month program usually provides a broad introduction to coding.
Prospective students should ensure they know what they want to gain from a coding program before selecting and enrolling in one.
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Typical Lengths for Bootcamp Programs
Students can choose from online, hybrid, or in-person coding programs. About 85% of bootcamps occur in person and 15% online. How long coding bootcamps are depends on how deep the program dives into its topics.
Enrollees should consider their schedule and career goals when choosing a bootcamp format. Full-time programs average 12 weeks in length whereas part-time schedules last about 24 weeks. The majority of students attend coding bootcamps full time and finish within three months.
One- or Two-Week Coding Bootcamp
Since it is difficult for instructors to cover extensive material thoroughly in one or two weeks, one- or two-week programs serve a different purpose than longer ones. A two-week coding bootcamp does not impart enough knowledge to land most graduates an entry-level job in their field.
One- and two-week programs either function as introductory programs that help prepare students for a more intensive bootcamp or as intensive programs that focus on improving a specific skill. These programs usually focus on one coding language or skill, providing students with a baseline understanding. Learners might use these more accessible programs to dip their toe into the field before committing to a longer bootcamp.
Generally, learners need to possess some base-level knowledge of coding before enrolling in a short-length coding program.
Short-length coding bootcamps require an intensive workload that requires students to commit much of their time during the length of the program, making them less ideal for those working a full-time job. Master21 and LearningFuze offer two options for short-length coding bootcamps.
Generally, learners need to possess some base-level knowledge of coding before enrolling in a short-length coding program. Students should not expect to complete the program with a deep understanding of a coding language or skill. Instead, they graduate with surface-level knowledge from which they can continue learning.
These programs usually occur in-person, taught by an instructor, and cost a few hundred dollars.
One-Month Coding Bootcamp
Still a condensed format, most one-month bootcamps are online and self-driven. Students log in on their own time to complete coursework throughout the month. This format best suits those learning to code while working a full-time job.
One-month bootcamps are also great for coding professionals looking to further develop their skills. Students trying to learn a new coding language gravitate toward one-month bootcamps to kick off their education. Enrollees can expect to pay up to a few thousand dollars.
Three-Month Coding Bootcamp
The majority programs found in the industry offer bootcamps in a three-month format, available in person, hybrid, or online. These programs usually cover broad coding concepts alongside concrete skills.
Bootcamp programs tend to offer a particular coding stack, or set of skills meant to work cohesively to build complete projects. Students might learn front- or back-end programming, full-stack web development, and potentially a variety of coding languages.
Bootcamps of this length also cater to a variety of different skill levels. Both beginning and practiced students can find programs that work for their existing skill set. Nearly all three-month coding bootcamps require students to complete hands-on projects to test their skills.
Prospective enrollees can find programs at universities, like Northwestern University, and independent bootcamp sources, like Hack Reactor. Most bootcamps students complete three-month programs on a full-time basis and in person.
Graduates of intensive, three-month coding bootcamps are more likely than graduates of shorter programs to find a job after completing the program. Students should plan to pay upwards of $10,000 for these programs.
Six-Month Coding Bootcamp
Those just stepping into coding or those with commitments that prevent them from taking the program full time might consider a six-month bootcamp. These comprehensive programs allow students to complete the bootcamp part time over the course of six months.
Six-month programs usually require students to study 10-15 hours per week along with regular class instruction time. Students attend evening and weekend classes for in-person study or online for fully independent and self-driven study.
A six-month coding bootcamp is ideal for students working a full-time job seeking to make a career shift. UC Berkeley offers a popular six-month coding program.
Scheduled over a longer timeline, these programs offer similar curricula as intensive three-month programs. Students can expect their coursework to cover a spectrum of topics. Some programs cater toward students at the introductory level, while others focus on students with baseline coding knowledge.
Six-month coding bootcamps can cost close to $15,000, and often offer financing options. Students should make sure to read the course description carefully to ensure they choose a program that fits their skill and commitment level.
One- to Two-Year Coding Bootcamp
Enrolling in a coding bootcamp that takes over a year to complete begins to resemble earning a degree in computer science. Students learn multiple coding languages, development stacks, and CS fundamentals. They might take classes from their peers instead of professors or from a number of instructors.
Students taking two-year coding bootcamps most likely gain access to apprenticeships and in-depth education at a fraction of the cost of a computer science degree. Two-year programs range in price from $21k - $60k, depending on length and prestige. The Turing School and Galvanize offer two popular programs.
Most programs also offer options to defer tuition or pay in installments rather than in one lump sum. Students who learn better by trying new techniques and experimenting rather than relying on instructor direction might find two-year coding bootcamps more suited to their learning styles.
Choosing a Program That Works for You
Coding bootcamps provide the skills and experience necessary for students to land their first job in computer science. Prospective enrollees should take stock of several factors, including their skill level, before choosing the program best-suited to prepare them for their career goals.
- Students should consider their budget before selecting a coding bootcamp. Programs vary in cost just as they do in length. Determining an absolute budget helps you build a list of viable programs within a reasonable price range.
- Learning Style
- Coding bootcamps are completed online, in person, or through hybrid models. Each of these styles comes with pros and cons that students should take into consideration. Professors instruct some programs, while peers teach others. Hands-on learners should prioritize programs that focus on building apps and programs rather than watching lectures and taking quizzes.
- Career Goals
- Those wanting to brush up on lapsing skills or learn a new language to supplement their other coding knowledge can benefit from an online or short program. However, those learning to code from scratch likely need a more intensive program to prepare them for success in their new career.
- Current Commitments
- Enrollees working a full-time job likely cannot commit to a full-time coding program, making self-guided or fully online options more suitable choices. On the other hand, learners with the time and space to commit to a full-time coding bootcamp might prefer the immersive experience. Students should ensure they choose a bootcamp that fits their availability.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bootcamps are typically shorter in length than degree programs. However, depending on the bootcamp, it might be far less intensive than a degree program. Make sure to read the course description closely to ensure a good fit.
Coding bootcamps range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The price varies depending on the duration of the program. It is important that students choose a program within their budget.
Companies hire coding bootcamp graduates into entry-level positions. Bootcamp graduates should expect to get an entry-level job. In most cases, students graduating from coding degree programs qualify for entry-level roles.
Whether or not a coding bootcamp is better than college depends on the individual, their preexisting skill level, and career goals. Those wanting to make a career shift will likely not want to return to school for a degree program.
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